The U.S. Federal authorities have charged 29 people involved in a $325 million operation of smuggling counterfeit goods from China.
It involved smuggling of counterfeit goods from China through Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey has stated.
Twenty three persons in New York, New Jersey, Texas and the Philippines have already been arrested and the search is on for arresting the other six people.
It's one of the largest counterfeit goods cases ever investigated in this district and one of the largest ever prosecuted in the country, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. The cost of counterfeiting is incredibly high -- in the billions and billions of dollars lost to legitimate companies, he said.
The cost of counterfeit goods is not limited to massive financial harm to American businesses and consumers, Fishman added. Criminals can exploit the same channels to import other material that threatens our health and safety, he stated.
According to criminal charges in federal court in Newark, the counterfeited brands included Nike sneakers, Coach handbags, UGG boots, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Gucci handbags among others. Phony paperwork was used to import goods in corrugated shipping containers.
The counterfeit goods were manufactured in China and smuggled into the United States through containers falsely associated with legitimate importers, authorities said in a press release.